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Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba (1507-1582) is known as the Grand Duke of Alba in Spain and the Iron Duke in the Netherlands. He served under two Spanish kings as advisor, governor and viceroy, in Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal [1].


This portrait was made by an anonymous engraver during the 1590s. The border is made up by grotesques and animals, among them two snails.


Both snails are slightly stylised, with two tentacles. The shells have nearly three whorls and are placed symmetrically in the design, one being dextral, the other sinistral.
The engraving is in the collection of the Musee national Chateau de Pau, Pau, France [2].

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Álvarez_de_Toledo,_3rd_Duke_of_Alba.
[2] MCP, inv. P.1302. Joconde | escargot (réponse #129).